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The 319th in Action

The 319th in Action, recorded by Lieutenant William B. Monroe who later was a commentator for Meet the Press, was compiled by a member of that famed group of WWII aviators, Harold E. Oyster, and his wife, Esther M. Oyster Queneau. It records the daily routine and exploits of this marvelous and courageous group of men. Much of their actions is taken from the daily journals maintained during World War II. The 319th Bomb Group fought all three World War II Axis powers (Italy, Germany and Japan) and participated in two major theaters of war, the Mediterranean (MTO) and Pacific (PTO). They flew three different aircraft into battle: the B-26 Marauder, the B-25 Mitchell and the A-26 Invader and developed a reputation for bombing accuracy. The Group received two back-to-back Presidential Citations for bombing the Rome and Florence marshalling yards without damaging any historical or religious edifices. General de Gaulle cited them with the Croix de Guerre avec Palme for outstanding support of the Allied offensive in Italy. This effort was not without a price. Casualties occurred and 328 men were killed. Harold E. Oyster (439th Squadron) with the support of his wife, Esther, and family knew the uniqueness of this group's endeavor and wanted to document its place in history. Through their perseverance they were able to complete the first edition in 1976, making The 319th in Action available for that first reunion held in 1977 that the Oysters had worked so diligently to organize. The joy of 25 years of reunions by the survivors renewed that uncommon comradeship that is a result of combat and lives depending on one another. That spirit seemed to permeate the pages of this book for our descendents and history buffs. The reunion attendees were keenly aware of the fallen whose lives were told in the stories exchanged but weren't there to listen. If this book serves no other purpose, let it be a tribute to those who gave their all.
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